Careers and job opportunities

PAT Testing News Round-Up - Issue 13

This issue covers:

Rise in private tenants may increase risk of electric shock and fire says ESC

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) believes many more people may become exposed to risk of potentially lethal electric accidents and fires in the home if the UK experiences a ‘steep’ and long term rise in the number of people living in private rented accommodation.

Electricity kills at least one person every week in the home and almost 1,000 are seriously injured every day. Electricity causes around 20,000 fires a year - almost half of all accidental UK house fires. The ESC has found that of all the people receiving an electric shock, private tenants are disproportionately affected: with 16% of the UK population living in private rented properties, they account for 20% of UK adults receiving an electric shock.

Research from the ESC found that misunderstandings between landlords and tenants over responsibilities for safety are already exposing millions of tenants to life-threatening electrical dangers. It believes a significant increase in the number of private tenants may further compromise safety and is reissuing its guidance for tenants and landlords.

According to the ESC, more than one fifth of all private tenants (21%) already report concerns with the electrical safety in their home and three quarters of private tenants (75%) can’t recall discussing electrical safety with their landlord.

The ESC is reminding landlords of its simple safety guidance – available free www.esc.org.uk/landlords. Tenants should also download the ESC’s free Home Electrical Safety Checks Smartphone app, which allows anyone to do a quick visual check to ensure a property is electrically safe.

Fires and Domestic Appliances

Everyday electrical items are sparking almost two fires a day in homes, Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service has warned.

In the circumstances, the service has urged householders to take extra care to ensure goods, such as toasters, cookers and washing machines, do not start a blaze that could lead to a similar tragedy.

Between April last year and March 2012, the service reported that 701 domestic fires were caused as a result of faults, carelessness or misuse of electrical items. More than 150 people were treated for injuries as a result of the outbreaks, and three lost their lives.

The majority of electrical fires in the 2011-12 financial year started in the kitchen, with more than 300 beginning because of cookers, 40 in microwaves and 65 in grills or toasters, while 44 were sparked by tumble dryers or washing machines.

Spotlights, faulty electrical wiring, deep-fat fryers, computers and electric blankets were also responsible for fires.

PATBag Solution Helps PAT Expansion

Dedicated portable appliance testing equipment from Seaward is helping a Wokingham-based electrical company to expand its services to small businesses.

CPJ Electrics’ main activity is in electrical installation work and providing electrical installation condition reports for clients in the Berkshire area. Established four years ago, the company has also recently introduced a PAT testing service for local small businesses.

To help it do so CPJ Electrics uses a Seaward PrimeTest 250 PatBag kit. The all inclusive package is specifically designed to support fast and efficient electrical safety checking and testing routines by providing a versatile handheld portable appliance tester, alongside a test guide, a training DVD, a log book for test results and a supply of ready-made pass/fail labels.

CPJ Electrics owner Chris Jamieson explains: “Having the easy to use tester and accessories in one bag means that we always have everything we need to carry out the PAT tests on site with the minimum of disruption to customers.

“Most of our customers are landlords, fairly small businesses and community organisations who, in addition to our ability to carry out testing quickly, value the assistance we can provide in helping them to make the necessary risk assessments required to develop an effective electrical maintenance programme.

“There is no doubt that customers would rather not have to do the testing. However, this view can change quite dramatically when they see the results of testing and the sort of equipment damage that could well have turned into a serious hazard if left undetected.”

The robust and handheld PrimeTest 250 carries out all the electrical tests required for compliance with the IET Code of Practice for the In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment, alongside a host of other features.

These additional test capabilities include an RCD trip time test, a 3-phase leakage test and a 250V DC insulation test suitable for testing sensitive electrical appliances and surge protected leads.

To help the company provide a fully professional service and to manage the test needs of its customers, CPJ Electrics also uses the PATGuard Elements program. This basic software provides a simplified database of test results, re-test dates and other data that can be used for the production of test reports and certificates – and help to provide reminders of next test due dates.

Since introducing its PAT service alongside its core electrical installation work, the use of specialist test equipment has helped CPJ to win more safety testing work with local businesses, retail outlets and community organisations.

More from www.cpjelectrics.co.uk and www.seaward.co.uk

Safety signpost: Free electrical safety fun kits

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) has produced a fun kit which is aimed at children 4 – 8 years of age to make learning about electrical safety both fun and educational. The re-usable kit includes a house plan drawing, stickers, badges, an electrical safety poster and a spot the hazards sheet.

The fun kit complements ESC’s children’s website, which aims to support teachers delivering key stages of the science/PSHE curriculum associated with electricity and, specifically electrical safety.

To order free copies of the fun kit visit the Switched On Kids website or email: schools@esc.org.uk

Rise in private tenants may expose more people to risk of electric shock and fire

ESC encourages download of its free Smartphone safety app, to help tenants protect themselves from lethal electrical shock or fire

The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) believes many more people may become exposed to risk of potentially lethal electric accidents and fires in the home if the UK experiences a ‘steep’ and long term rise in the number of people living in private rented accommodation in the UK, which was forecast in a recent report from Shelter and the Resolution Foundation.

Research from the ESC in February found that misunderstandings between landlords and tenants over responsibilities for safety are already exposing millions of tenants to life-threatening electrical dangers. It believes a significant increase in the number of private tenants may further compromise safety and is reissuing its guidance for tenants and landlords, including details of how to download its free smartphone safety app, allowing anyone to carry out a simple electrical safety check of their home.

Electricity kills at least one person every week in the home and almost 1,000 are seriously injured every day. Electricity causes around 20,000[i] fires a year - almost half of all accidental UK house fires. The ESC has found that of all the people receiving an electric shock[ii], private tenants are disproportionately affected: with 16% of the UK population living in private rented properties[iii], they account for 20% of UK adults receiving an electric shock.

More than one fifth of all private tenants (21%) already report concerns with the electrical safety in their home and three quarters of private tenants (75%) can’t recall discussing electrical safety with their landlord[iv].

The ESC research highlighted that many landlords and tenants are simply confused over their responsibilities to safety and are not discussing the vital issue. By law, landlords must ensure electrical installations and wiring are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy[v]. And tenants should feel obliged to flag electrical problems as soon as they appear, as well as maintain any electrical items they bring into the house.

The ESC is reminding landlords of its simple safety guidance – available free www.esc.org.uk/landlords. Tenants should also download the ESC’s free Home Electrical Safety Checks Smartphone app, which allows anyone to do a quick visual check to ensure a property is electrically safe. The app highlights potential dangers in each room and explains how to resolve simple problems or where they should be flagged to an electrician, or landlord. The app is available for iPhone or Android.

Anneke Rousseau, Head of Communications, ESC, said: “It is important that all landlords understand their obligations and ensure the safety of their tenants. Part of the confusion may arise from the fact that landlords are legally responsible for an annual gas safety check but it is not a legal requirement for electrical safety. And so we are encouraging landlords and tenants to start talking more openly with each other about this vital safety issue.”

[i] CLG fire statistics 2007
[ii] 2.5 million people receive a mains voltage electric shock every year (MORI 2011)
[iii] English, Welsh, Scottish and Northern Ireland Housing Surveys
[iv] When asked ‘Thinking again about your last privately rented accommodation to what extent did you ever discuss electrical safety with your landlord for this property when you moved in?’, 56% of renters answered ‘Electrical safety was not discussed’ and a further 19% answered ‘Don’t know / can’t remember’.
[v] The Landlords and Tenants Act 1985. Further guidance in the Housing and Tenants Act 2004

Fires and domestic appliances

EVERYDAY electrical items are sparking almost two fires a day in homes, Lothian and Borders firefighters have warned.

Between April last year and March, 701 domestic fires were caused as a result of faults, carelessness or misuse of electrical items.

More than 150 people were treated for injuries as a result of the outbreaks, and three lost their lives.

And Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service has urged householders to take extra care to ensure goods, such as toasters, cookers and washing machines, do not start a blaze that could lead to a similar tragedy.

The majority of electrical fires in the 2011-12 financial year started in the kitchen, with more than 300 beginning because of cookers, 40 in microwaves and 65 in grills or toasters, while 44 were sparked by tumble dryers or washing machines.

Spotlights, faulty electrical wiring, deep-fat fryers, computers and electric blankets were among the other sources of fires.

Mike Jaffray, community safety group commander, said: “The fact there were three fatalities last year as a result of electrical-related fires is tragic, and we want to get the safety message into people’s minds to try to prevent any further tragedies from happening.”

Mary Mackie, 65, was one of the victims of a fire that was classified as electrical by the fire service. She died in hospital after the blaze took hold at Suttislea Road, Newtongrange, in February.

She had been pulled from the fire and received CPR outside the home. Firefighters believe the fire started due to a faulty electricity supply at the property.

Ms Mackie’s death followed the blaze that claimed the life of 42-year-old father-of-two George Marley.

The fatal fire broke out in Mayfield, near Dalkeith. The fire service believe it started in wiring, cables or an electricity socket because of a faulty supply.

Lothian and Borders firefighters also attended a fatal blaze in Galashiels in November. It is understood that 68-year-old Brian Hart lost his life after a heater was carelessly knocked over.

Ceasar Ticehurst, who was a firefighter for 30 years before he set up fire prevention consultancy and training business Firehouse Scotland, said the state of the economy could lead to an increase in electrical fires. He said: “Over ten years, wiring should be looked at or checked but it never gets done,” he said. “When people don’t follow the precautions, that’s where the trouble starts.

“There are themes that come through over the years. Fireplace fireguards used to be a problem, but that’s almost a thing of the past. Then there was furniture, then it was regulated and it made a big difference.

“Now overloading of sockets and electrical faults is a major thing. And people who are less well off don’t have the money to change or service things. They might buy stuff second hand. That can cause problems.”

For further fire safety information visit www.lbfire.org.uk or for a free home safety visit where firefighters will fit a free smoke detector and offer advice call 0800 169 0320.

How to avoid an electrical fire - Community safety group commander Mike Jaffray

Firstly, reduce the risk of an electrical fire by unplugging non-essential electrical items such as televisions, hair styling equipment, games consoles and lamps when they’re not being used, and don’t switch on appliances like washing machines, dishwashers and tumble dryers when you go out or to bed.

Electric heaters cause a lot of fires and injuries, either by being left on unattended, or by leaving things too close to them.

Cooking-related fires can also be counted under the misuse of an electrical appliance, such as microwaves and electric cookers.

Electric blankets can catch fire, so don’t leave them on when you’re in bed. They should also be checked for damage such as scorching and exposed wires.

Use one plug for each electrical socket and avoid overloading adapters. Don’t run cables under carpets and never rejoin cables with insulating tape – replace the whole cable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to the top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go back to the top

 
Stay up to date with the latest news from Seaward
 
When joining, you agree to Seaward contacting you via email about industry news, useful guides, webinars and workshops, and Seaward products which we feel will be of interest to you. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on how we use your details.